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TCF032: Retaining Top Talent

The competition to hire a great employee is fierce, but getting a great employee in the door is only half the battle. Companies that fail to meet the needs of top performers will ultimately lose the employee, decrease their productivity, and waste thousands of dollars in a job transition and talent search. But what practices help companies avoid high rates of employee turnover?

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! In this episode, Jeff gives four ways that you can invest in your best employees so that they become long-term employees. Whether you have a single employee or hundreds of employees, these practices will make your organization a place where your employees feel valued, encouraged, challenged, and fulfilled.

1. Recognize individuality

  1. All top talent is not created equal!

  2. Ask yourself these important questions: What drives your individual top performers? What ticks them off? What gets them excited?

  3. Don’t assume that what inspires one peak performer will inspire another. Take the time to get to know each employee as an individual and ask them these questions.

Q: What are some possible motivators for your team’s best performers? Describe a motivator for you in this season of your life and career. Why do you think different people are inspired by different things?

Discuss Career Path options with your employees

  1. Ask questions that inspire your employee to improve themself.

  2. Can they get better?

  3. Are they satisfied with their job?

  4. Where do they see themselves in 5-10 years?


  1. Do not go over a career path option during your annual performance review. Reviews are a chance for you to make course corrections (a withdrawal). These conversations should be geared more toward dreaming with the employee and inspiring them to reach their fullest potential (a deposit).

  2. Create a game plan and follow through on it!

  3. Show them their strengths

  4. Suggest ways they can improve on their weaknesses

  5. Make sure you show them you care and want them to be better.

  6. Set timelines and follow up! If you don’t follow up, it’s just another nice gesture and nothing really changes for the employee.


  1. If you go over a career path development plan in a formal meeting, they are likely to nod along to please you instead of genuinely coming to a place of agreement.

  2. You want agreement, not lip service.

Q: Why do you think that a boss should discuss an employee’s career path with them? How should a boss respond if an employee’s desired career path leads them away from the team or company? What steps can you take to make sure your discussion leads to action?

2. Show appreciation for their efforts

  1. Might feel taken for granted

  2. They are different and special.

  3. Handwritten notes, phone calls

  4. Don’t underestimate the power of recognition. Everyone loves to be recognized

  5. Make sure everyone knows that your top performer is doing a great job

Q: How do you respond when you get a thank you note or phone call? Why do you think handwritten notes or phone calls make a greater impact than a handshake or an email? Why do you think people choose not to prioritize thanking their employees? What’s wrong with that mindset?

3. Have a healthy team environment

  1. Many people will stay at their jobs because of the people they work with.

  2. If things go wrong, bad boss, jerks on the team, they’ll leave.

  3. Have a lot of options

  4. Isten to their concerns. If you don’t listen, you will drive them away.

Q: What are some signs that a team might not be healthy? Describe a time when you were on an unhealthy team. How did it affect your work? How did it affect your home life? What role did the team’s dysfunction play in your decision to stay with or leave the company?

Application Activities:

  1. Get out your pen and write some thank you notes! In a time where people can quickly give a thumbs up to a text or send a quick email, handwritten notes carry extra weight. The time you take to invest into your key players will be recognized and create a lasting impression. Schedule time every 1-3 months to write thank you notes to all of your key players and use that time to bring up a recent victory they had in the organization.

  2. What kind of feedback can your employees count on from you? Take some time to evaluate your mid-year review process (or institute one!). What other one-on-one conversations should you be having with your employees? Consider the structure of those meetings (content and timing) so that they work collaboratively with the mission and culture of your organization.

  3. Think back to when you were a peak performer. What made you want to show up to work every day? Consider whether you are holding that standard for your employees. Make a list of 3-5 things you think are important in your organization’s culture, the things that make people want to stay. Better yet, get feedback on the list from your key performers and let them add to or subtract from the list. Are you following through on all of those areas?

Contact Jeff

Instagram: @thechampionforum

Facebook: The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher

email: jeffhancher@thechampionforum.com

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